Ikoyigate $43.5M Fallout: President Buhari Suspends Intelligence Agency Boss, SGF

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on April 19th, 2017

Ikoyigate $43.5M Fallout: President Buhari Suspends Intelligence Agency Boss, SGF. President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a full-scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim.

The investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds. The President has also directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation.

He has also ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE). The President has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.

A three-man Committee comprising the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the National Security Adviser, headed by the Vice President, is to conduct both investigations. The Committee is to submit its report to the President within 14 days.

The most senior Permanent Secretary in the SGF’s office, and the most senior officer in the NIA, are to act, respectively, during the period of investigation.

NIA DG Ayo Adoke

The suspended Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayo Oke, on Wednesday betrayed emotion as he made desperate attempts to enter the Presidential Villa, Abuja shortly after his suspension was announced. Oke made attempts to seek an audience with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo but was turned back. He made frantic efforts to avoid journalists. In the process, he was driven towards the Service Chiefs’ Gate from where he was turned back. He has since left the premises.

NIA DG Adoke leaving aso rock after his suspension

Fresh facts have emerged regarding the suspension of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal. Lawal was meeting with the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, in his office, when the Presidency suspended him. There are speculations that the embattled SGF, was being advised about the decision and told not to take it personal with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Babachir Lawal

It is understood that Lawal was reportedly suspended, because Buhari is perceived to be losing his fight against corruption, with some of his key appointees facing allegations from several quarters. Osinbajo also told him pointedly that the outcome of the investigation will determine his fate.

A statement signed by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina  announced the suspension of the SGF.

The statement reads:

“President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered an investigation into the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

The President has also directed the suspension of the SGF from office pending the outcome of the investigations.

In a related development, the President has ordered a full scale investigation into the discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, over which the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has made a claim.

The investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.

The President has also directed the suspension of the Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, pending the outcome of the investigation.

A three-man Committee comprising the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and the National Security Adviser, headed by the Vice President, is to conduct both investigations.

The Committee is to submit its report to the President within 14 days. The most senior Permanent Secretary in the SGF’s office, and the most senior officer in the NIA, are to act, respectively, during the period of investigation.”

Last month, Lawal insisted he was innocent of the allegations leveled against him over the N1.3billion grass-cutting contract .

On December 14, 2016, the senate asked Babachir Lawal, secretary to the government of the federation, to immediately resign from office. This followed the recommendation of its ad hoc committee on the humanitarian situation in the north-east, which had investigated the management of funds for internally displaced persons in the region by the Presidential Initiative on the North-east (PINE).
PINE at the time was under the SGF.

Shehu Sani, chairman of the committee which probed Lawal, alleged that the SGF awarded contracts to companies belonging to cronies and relatives of top government officials. He explained that the committee found out that Rholavision Engineering Limited, a company, with Lawal as director, for instance, was awarded a consultancy contract.

Lawal leaving aso rock after his suspension

The company’s major role, according to him, was the removal of invasive plant species in Yobe state. He added that PINE, which carried out the all procurement activities, violated the laid-down rules. Sani also said most of the contracts awarded had no direct bearing or impact on the IDPs who were living in deplorable conditions.

Shortly after the recommendations were made, Lawal granted an interview where he denied allegations levelled against him.

On  January 17, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the senate, saying he would not sack Lawal because he was not a given a fair hearing.

Author

Bamidele Ogunberu

Bamidele Ogunberu

A prolific writer, Bamidele has worked in generalist and public relations capacities for an energy company before making the cross over into journalism and has never looked back
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